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Information about shoulder dystocia: What parents need to know

Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that happens when a baby becomes trapped against the mother's pelvic bone during the delivery process. Even though most cases of shoulder dystocia get better on their own after six to 12 months of healing, some children will suffer from permanent disabilities as a result of this birth injury.

In cases of shoulder dystocia, the infant suffers bodily injuries during the birth process after becoming trapped in the birth canal and being subjected to intense pressure as the mother tries to push the baby out. Here are some of the injuries that develop in such cases:

  • Babies who suffer from oxygen deprivation
  • Babies with broken collarbones and broken arms
  • Babies with broken shoulders, arms and damage to nerves in the arms and hands
  • Mothers suffering from torn vagina, rectum and cervix
  • Mothers with uterine ruptures and bruised bladders
  • Mothers with dangerous hemorrhaging

In some cases of shoulder dystocia, babies develop paralysis of the arm on the side of the body affected by shoulder dystocia. In many cases, the condition will heal itself, but sometimes it results in a life-long disability.

Caesarean section is one of the best ways for mothers to sidestep the risks of shoulder dystocia and Erb's palsy. However, if a negligent doctor fails to notice the risk factors of shoulder dystocia in the mother -- and fails to recommend a Caesarean section -- the mother and baby could suffer from these serious injuries as a result.

Were you or your baby harmed by shoulder dystocia? You may want to determine whether your treating physician was at fault and explore your legal rights and options to pursue financial claims in Arizona civil court.

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